May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and there is no better time to talk about SUNSCREEN and sun protection. In the United States, there are over 5 million skin cancers diagnosed and treated each year. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will have skin cancer in his or her lifetime, which is A LOT.
85% of melanoma (fatal) and 90% of non-melanoma (can become fatal) skin cancers are caused by sun damage. And, when we talk about sun damage, it is not just from sunburns or tanning bed use. It can be small amounts of sun that add up over a lifetime, which can happen in someone who has never had a sunburn.
Using sunscreens and other sun protection measures significantly lower your overall risk of skin cancer and will slow the AGING effects on our skin like fine lines, deeper wrinkles, and loss of elasticity, which can also be caused by UV damage.
Therefore, we should think about protecting our skin like any other preventative healthy lifestyle choices we partake in.
We all know there are A LOT of options for skin protection these days and a ton of information to sort out, but please know sunscreen is one of our best tools for skin and sun protection. So here is the scoop on what you need to know!
2 Ways Your SPF Blocks the Sun –
1.Chemically: These are the traditional sunscreens we all grew up with. They have organic molecules (octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone, just to name a few!) in them that absorb energy from the sun before it can damage your skin.
2.Physically: These are a newer technology that uses tiny crystals of zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both, that reflect the sun’s rays away from your skin like little mirrors.
PRO TIP: A combination of chemical and physical sunscreens is best. When used together, the physical sunscreens reflect away the majority of the UV light, but then any UV rays that get through are absorbed by the chemical sunscreens. If you have a skin allergy to or are sensitive to chemical sunscreens, physical-only sunscreens are your next best bet.
3 Things to Look for in Your SPF-
1.Broad-spectrum: This means it blocks both the UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays, SO important.
2.SPF 30 or higher: At SPF 30 you are blocking about 97% of the sun’s harmful rays, pretty close to 100%, but more is always better AND no matter how high your SPF is, you still must reapply it.
3.Water-resistant: For outdoor activities and the TEXAS heat.
- SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor
- SPF15 = blocks 94% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- SPF 30 = blocks 97% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- SPF 50 = blocks 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- The American Academy of Dermatology (and our dermatologists!) recommends a minimum of SPF 30 for daily and activity use.
I hope you found this information of value! Please don’t forget to check out our online store at www.shopmdskincare.com for all of SBA’s favorite SPFs. You can also save now through May 31, 2020: Buy 1 SPF, Get 10% OFF with code “SPF10” or Buy 3, Get 20% OFF with code “SPF20” – if you have any questions about which sunscreen is best for you or would like to schedule a skin check or consultation of any kind please do so here.
And if you are on Instagram feel free to watch my “Can You Spot The Spot?” on our Instagram TV here.
Stay safe and well Houston!
Dr. Couvillion has been practicing dermatology since 2017. A graduate of Louisiana State University School of Medicine, she completed her internship in internal medicine and her dermatology residency training at Tulane University where she served as Chief Resident. Before starting medical school she also received a Masters of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University. She is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is a member of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the Houston Dermatological Society, and the Women’s Dermatologic Society. She was named by Texas Monthly as one of their Rising Stars for 2019.
Check out Dr. Couvillion’s Instagram Profile here